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Mallinson, James (2020) 'Haṭhayoga’s Early History: From Vajrayāna Sexual Restraint to Universal Somatic Soteriology.' In: Flood, Gavin D., (ed.), Hindu Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 177-199. (The Oxford History of Hinduism)

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In India physical methods have been used for religious ends since at least 1000 bce. For two millennia these methods were simple techniques of privation in which the body was mortified, usually by holding a particular posture for long periods, in order to acquire tapas, ascetic power. The details of their performance were not transmitted in texts but, we must assume, passed on orally within lineages of renouncer ascetics. In the early part of the second millennium ce, a somatic soteriology whose physical methods are body-affirming appears in textual sources; some of its practices are depicted soon after in the material record. In certain Sanskrit texts these methods of yoga were classified as haṭha, which means “force”; haṭhayoga means “yoga by means of force”. In this chapter I shall analyse the history of the codification of haṭhayoga techniques up to the composition of the c. 1400 ce Haṭhapradīpikā, which became haṭhayoga’s locus classicus.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: yoga, haṭhayoga, body, tapas, asceticism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISBN: 9780198733508
Copyright Statement: © 2020 Oxford University Press This is a chapter published in Flood, Gavin, (ed.), Hindu Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 177-199. (The Oxford History of Hinduism). Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press: Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2021 11:00
Related URLs: https://oxford. ... 33508-chapter-8 (Publisher URL)
Funders: European Union

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